Last Updated: Sat, 07 Apr 2012 19:08
Bolton boss Owen Coyle felt his side blew an opportunity to give themselves vital breathing space in their relegation battle.
The Trotters fell well below their recent standards as they slumped to a 3-0 home defeat to Clint Dempsey-inspired Fulham in the Barclays Premier League. Favourable results elsewhere ensured they remained outside the bottom three but Coyle had been expecting much better after entering the game on the back of a three-match winning run.
Coyle said: "It is disappointing because of how we came into the game, and being at home, looking to make it four wins on the bounce. With the way other results went we had a chance to open up a bit of a gap, so all in all, it is disappointing."
Bolton paid the price for a lacklustre first half as Dempsey took his goal tally for the season to 21 by following a stunning 30th minute free-kick with a firm header on the stroke of half-time before Mahamadou Diarra wrapped up a convincing win late on.
Coyle added: "It was an even start - there wasn't a lot in it - but Clint Dempsey is an outstanding player, he's hit a 35-yard free-kick into the top corner. Aside from the quality of the finish for the first, it was easily avoidable, conceding the free-kick in the first place.
"Then the second, we have given it away. It was a poor pass and we have been caught on the counter-attack. Then we have come out in the second half, scrapped away at 2-0 without having any gilt-edged chances, but a few things flying about the box. We needed to get the next goal but with 10 minutes left we have given away a poor goal on the counter-attack."
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